bible blog 1419

This blog offers ameditation on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:

IAN PAISLEY -MAN WHO INHERITED A TRADITION AND WENT BEYOND IT 

Rev. Ian Paisley dies

Rev. Ian Paisley dies

JOB CHAPTER 42

No One Can Oppose You

42 Job said:

No one can oppose you,
because you have the power
    to do what you want.
You asked why I talk so much
    when I know so little.
I have talked about things
that are far beyond
    my understanding.
You told me to listen
    and answer your questions.[a]
I heard about you from others;
now I have seen you
    with my own eyes.
That’s why I hate myself
and sit here in dust and ashes
    to show my sorrow.

Blake: God answers Job

Blake: God answers Job

The Lord Corrects Job’s Friends

The Lord said to Eliphaz:

What my servant Job has said about me is true, but I am angry at you and your two friends for not telling the truth. So I want you to go over to Job and offer seven bulls and seven goats on an altar as a sacrifice to please me.[b] After this, Job will pray, and I will agree not to punish you for your foolishness.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar obeyed the Lord, and he answered Job’s prayer.

A Happy Ending

10 After Job had prayed for his three friends, the Lord made Job twice as rich as he had been before. 11 Then Job gave a feast for his brothers and sisters and for his old friends. They expressed their sorrow for the suffering the Lord had brought on him, and they each gave Job some silver and a gold ring.

12 The Lord now blessed Job more than ever; he gave him fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand pair of oxen, and a thousand donkeys.

13 In addition to seven sons, Job had three daughters, 14 whose names were Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren Happuch. 15 They were the most beautiful women in that part of the world, and Job gave them shares of his property, along with their brothers.

16 Job lived for another one hundred forty years—long enough to see his great-grandchildren have children of their own— 17 and when he finally died, he was very old.

The “happy ending” in folk-tale style tells us the framework of the this drama has been the author’s game. The opening scene in heaven with the Adversary proposing a test of Job’s faith is completed with a victory for God-Job’s faith has not crumbled- and for Job, who becomes richer than ever (never mind all those family members who died in the test!). The reader is invited to see all this as mere storytelling fun enclosing the serious business of a man afflicted with terrible suffering who holds God to account and receives an encounter with his Creator.

The real end of the story is Job’s strange satisfaction. Terrible things have happened to him and they cannot be undone, but he is content to admit his errors and to show humility before God. (We should not take the “hating myself” and the “dust and ashes” too seriously-they are conventional indications of change of heart.) What has he got out of his suffering and his stubborn faith? Only this:eye

I heard about you from others;
now I have seen you
    with my own eyes.

For Job that makes all the difference in the world. His faith, albeit strong, was traditional. It was handed on to him. Then , as he pushed this faith beyond its own boundaries, his eyes were opened to the One who is beyond all worlds yet shows a fierce delight in His/Her whole creation including that suffering and rebellious creature, Job. We should not label this experience visionary / mystical/ spiritual but rather see it as the fruit of Job’s complete existence and tradition of faith. It arises from what D H Lawrence called, “the whole man, wholly attending.”

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